The past couple of months have been a whirlwind.
I’ve found it incredibly difficult to carve out moments of rest amidst the unrest of our world.
We’ve experienced a lot of upheaval this year, and it’s wearing on each of us mentally, physically, and spiritually. I know I need rest, but I think I’ve forgotten what it feels like to truly sabbath rest. I’ve been in “fight or flight” mode for the last 4 months and my body is reaping the consequences of it. I’ve starting having sleep disturbances, food cravings, increased urge to drink alcohol, and overwhelming feelings of loneliness.
Let me be clear, this is definitely not everyday but it seems to come in waves. And I’m here to tell you that it’s OKAY and NORMAL for you to have these unsettling feelings and urges. We were not at all prepared for 2020. But how can we proactively and healthily combat the unrest?
The answer lies in REST. Deep, abiding REST.
For years now, if I have the day off from work, I consider it a day to get the ish done that I haven’t had the time to do during the workweek. Whether that’s cleaning house, laundry, blogging, running errands, calling family, meal prepping, recipe testing… You name it and I probably am doing it. I don’t sit still on my days off. It bugs the crap out of my husband, because he’s good at resting. He’s good at staying still. I’m a work in progress.
So if you struggle with REST, here are some tips to slay at it:
1. Figure Out What Feeds You
“What feeds you” as in what brings you joy and newfound purpose. For some, rest looks like taking a walk, for others reading a book. Maybe you need to meditate or spend time in prayer. Or maybe you need to get creative, do a craft/DIY project, try a new recipe, grow some plants, get your hands dirty. Everyone is different when it comes to the activities that feed their spirit. So when you figure out what those activities are, you are well on your way to finding rest.
2. Prioritize those Activities
Whatever activities or exercises feed your spirit, be sure to carve out time for them in your schedule. Put it on your calendar. Make an appointment with yourself to do something fun, motivating , and just for you.
3. Take a Deep Breath
If you’re pressed for time, simply close your eyes and take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale. Meditate on where you are, how you feel in that moment, what you plan to do, and how you want to move forward in your day. BE PRESENT. Sometimes taking the time to close your eyes and simply be can transform how you feel about your circumstances. I use deep breathing as a way to center myself especially if I’m feeling overwhelmed. Focusing on my breath and stepping away from the noise of my head and heart can drastically change the course of my day. Sometimes I even say a quick prayer asking the Lord to allow me to be present.
4. Be Attuned to Your Needs
We struggle with rest because oftentimes we don’t know our needs. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, impatient, or angry, reassess why those feelings are surfacing. Is it because you’ve neglected your needs? Is it because you haven’t taken the time to reflect on your mind, body, and spirit? Know your limits. Listen and be attuned to the queues your body is sending for rest.
5. Consider Rest As the Ultimate Self-Care
Everyone loves to talk about self-care, and rest is an integral part of it! Yes, an occasional sheet mask and pedicure do wonders for my skin and self-confidence, but rest helps me be my best self at work and in my personal relationships. Without rest, we can’t function at our max capacity without crashing and burning. I don’t want to just survive, I want to thrive. By prioritizing rest, I’m learning how to love and cherish myself so that I can better serve the people around me. Isn’t THAT the best gift you can give to your spouse, co-workers, friends, and family? Your best self?
6. Seek First the Kingdom of God
Faith is paramount to me. But if my priorities are out of whack, then the rest of my life seems to follow suit. So when it says in Matthew 6:33, “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” it means that when we put God first, he promises to take care of the rest. When our hearts are focused on God and the glory of his kingdom, the worries of this world melt away. In this life, we are guaranteed to have trials and hardships, but God’s presence amidst the good and the bad is also guaranteed. Seek God above all else. Because when we are doing hard and holy work on behalf of God’s glory, he will give us true, abiding rest in Him.